You just got off a zoom call with us. You’re thrilled to get started on your upcoming grant application. It will include messages on a smartwatch, so you fire up the Fitabase Engage planner and start copying in text you’ve been drafting. Message 1: “Awesome job! You just hit your step goal for the day. Tell us how you’re feeling right now.”
Oops. This works just fine for a text message, but on a watch, it runs off the screen, even with our smallest-available text. So, how can we shorten this? Let’s edit this one together using our top tips for small-screen writing.
1. Don’t be afraid to rearrange words
Take the second sentence here: “You just hit your step goal for the day.” Let’s remove “for the day” and instead pop in “daily.” Now we’re looking at something like this:
2. Ruthlessly remove redundancies
If the participant went through a baseline or intake appointment, and the parameters of the study were explained, they probably already know that you mean “right now” when you send a message. So, let’s remove that and:
3. Get rid of filler words
“That,” “on” and “just” are big ones. Examples: “Did you know that you hit your step goal?” is the exact same message as “Did you know you hit your step goal,” but shorter. “Can you hit your step goal on Tuesday?” is the same message as “Can you hit your step goal Tuesday?” In our example message, “just” is one we can remove:
4. Tighten up your congratulatory statements.
“Awesome job!” is such a nice way to tell me I did, well, an awesome job. But I feel just as good when you say “Nice!” or “Yay!” or even just a plain old “Awesome!” Keep it simple:
We did it!
But what if you want the text to be larger?
Then you need our last tip:
5. Don’t be afraid to de-formalize it.
You’re working on a personal device that people have connected to their bodies every day. These messages are sitting next to things they’re listening to on Spotify and text messages from their family members. Because of that context, you can be a little more casual than you might be used to. A more laid back version of this message might look like this:
And, if you want your message text even bigger, it may be time to compromise a little bit. Let’s go back to the start of the list and rearrange some words. We’re going to take out the congratulations, go totally bare-bones with the goal-related update and let an exclamation point represent our excitement. And here we are:
So we got from this: “Awesome job! You just hit your step goal for the day. Tell us how you’re feeling right now.”
To this: “Step goal achieved! How you feeling?” Twelve fewer words that get the same message across.
- Rearranging words
- Removing redundancies
- Getting rid of filler
- Tightening congratulatory statements
- De-formalizing language
To try your hand at editing for small screens, you can find the Fitbase Engage planner on the right side of the page when you log into your Fitabase account. When you’re ready to start sending those messages to participants, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!